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Clifford Pier

Clifford Pier (19)

Clifford Pier is an embarkation pier on Collyer Quay officially opened by Governor Sir Cecil Clementi on 3 June 1933. The pier took its name from Sir Hugh Clifford, the son of a distinguished British Army general. He also began his career in the military before becoming Governor of the Straits Settlements from 1927 to 1929. Sir Hugh Clifford is also known for writing the little book Farther India, which chronicles European exploration in Southeast Asia.

The pier is the work of Frank Dorrigton Ward, chief architect of the Public Works Department. As you can see, it has simple, clean lines but is also very solid, with a very interesting arched structure giving the whole a unique look. It was built by the Woh Hup contractors and is well anchored in the sea by huge steel beams.

More than 70 feet long and more than 30 meters wide, it was built to replace Johnston's Pier, which was located in front of what it now Fullerton Square. Johnston was among the first Europeans to settle in Singapore, at about the same time as Sir Raffles, becoming a prominent businessman who even founded the Chamber of Commerce. But above all, he was a much loved and respected citizen of Singapore due to his import and export connections with Europe transferring provisions and supplies with his vessels. He was the one who ordered the building of the previous pier which brought so much business to the city and its inhabitants. That was why, in 1933, many merchants wanted to keep the name “Johnston's Pier” and boycott the inauguration of the Clifford Pier.

At the very end of the old Johnston's Pier, a red light always hung to warn the ships entering the port. Therefore, the pier was known as Lampu Merrah, or red lamp, in Malay. Today the same name is applied to Clifford Pier.

Clifford Pier still reminds many elderly Singaporeans of the days leading up to the Japanese invasion of February 15, 1942. This pier was the scene of terrible moments of panic and confusion, with Japanese aircraft flying overhead and machine-gunning anyone trying to escape. The Japanese took Singaporeans hostage on their navy vessels or killed them on the spot.

Since opening in 1933 merchants and immigrants have kept this pier very busy, especially before the advent of air travel.  Nowadays it is used by locals and tourists to visit some of the islands to the south of the country. Therefore, we encourage you to take one of the cruises departing from this pier, with dinner included, and visit the idyllic, sacred island of Kusu. For information about other islands, go to Marina South Pier, nearby.

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